Nyetimber, based in West Sussex, have become one of England’s most successful sparkling wine producers and are becoming more widely known with the increasing popularity of British wines.
The history of Nyetimber spans centuries. It was first recorded in the 1086 Domesday book, but its life as a successful vineyard began much more recently.
In 1986, 900 years after the Domesday record, Nyetimber was bought by an American couple, Stuart and Sandy Moss. Two years after purchasing the property, the couple decided to plant a vineyard and break into the sparkling wine industry. Being the first in England to plant the three Champagne varieties; Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, they were met with incredulity from other producers. However, they soon proved that it was the right decision and that England’s climate was suitable for growing such varieties.
After the property was sold in 2006 to Eric Heerema, the vineyards were expanded and now cover 170 hectares. Each piece of land deliberately chosen because it is south-facing and has the right soil composition. But they don’t cut corners; every grape is handpicked after being inspected to ensure that they are perfect.
Winemaker Cherie Spriggs, who joined Nyetimber in 2007, is a perfectionist. A great example being back in 2012 when she made the decision not to produce a vintage that year because the grapes didn’t reach her high standards.
Both Cherie and Eric are passionate wine makers. Eric confesses that he has been an avid reader about the wine industry since he was 17 years old, and Cherie has worked all over the world with various producers.
All Nyetimber wines are made using 100% of their own grapes, something which sets them apart from other wine producers, and they use the same traditional method to produce their wine as is used in Champagne. All of this adds up to make Nyetimber a force to be reckoned with in the English sparkling wine industry.